There are many people involved in the preparation for an upcoming trial, but one person’s role isn’t always clear to the public, and that is of the legal investigator. He or she essentially is the “sponge,” absorbing everything there is to know about the case and relaying information. When it comes to preparation for the case going to court, the legal investigator’s role isn’t to try the case but gather all the facts as they are and report them to the person requesting it without any bias toward the plaintiff or defendant.
Comprehensive evidence review
All forensic, documentary, physical and photographic evidence is reviewed by the legal investigator before the trial. It is his or her careful eye that can pick up on any consistences or discrepancies between the evidence and the case. Once the investigator has looked over the evidence, he or she can go over the findings with the person being reported to and can help with the strategic planning for the trial.
Report creation and delivery
The legal investigator prepares detailed yet concise reports of all he or she does for the case. This will be looked at and relied upon for the trial by the person who hired the investigator. It is vital that these reports be well-organized, thorough and concise as people will be using the information from them in the trial itself.
Exhibition labeling and preparation
All exhibits that will be used as evidence at the trial are reviewed, organized and labeled by the legal investigator. Here, it is more valuable if the investigator has the ability to do things like crime scene drawings and photo prep, usually with the aid of computer software. The investigator prepares the exhibits in ways that make them easy to use in the courtroom. The key area of a specific photo, for example, may be blown up to poster size for use in court to make it easier for the attorneys, judge and jury to see the focal point.
Testimony in court
A legal investigator may be called to give testimony in any case he or she works on. His or her testimony needs to be honest, professional, clear and free of jargon to establish credibility in court. If a jury is involved in the case, it is even more important that the investigator’s testimony is something credible that a lay person can easily understand as it could influence the jury’s decision.
Following up on the investigation
If the investigator doesn’t need to testify, he or she may take notes during the trial to identify new inconsistencies or discrepancies from witnesses and other people called on to testify in the case. The new testimony is compared against the old statements and interviews by the investigator, who then lets the hiring attorney know about his or her findings. In some cases, new inconsistencies between statements uncovered by the investigator are used by the attorney in the trial.
The role of a legal investigator in a trial is a crucial part of its eventual outcome. It is important that the investigator has the proper training, such as getting a legal investigation certificate, so he or she can do the job properly when it comes to the investigation and trial preparation sides.